No, dear VOA Urdu, it’s not 30 minutes between flash and thunder!
A news report has appeared Saturday, June 27, 2020 on the Urdu website of Voice of America (VOA) with the title “Aasmani Bijli Chamakny ka Naya Aalmi Record (New World Record of Lightning Strikes).
The American media, described its mission to serve since 1942 as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news, striving always to be accurate, objective, and comprehensive, has quoted the U.N.’s weather agency, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It informed that the WMO has verified two “megaflashes” of lightning in South America that set records for longest distance and longest duration.
However, the VOA Urdu, while concluding the story has shared the safety tip as: “…the WMO suggests if the time between the flash and thunder is 30 minutes, then it is a dangerous and critical situation. Please go inside and wait 30 minutes to resume outdoor activities.”
Same has been posted on its official Facebook page with 2,861,876 likes and 3,372,742 followers as of today. The VOA Urdu is very popular among Urdu language audience residing in Pakistan, India and other countries. Many Pakistani TV News Channels, also used to pick VOA reports to further broadcast, followed by newspapers, and blogs, etc..
Therefore, the safety tip reported by VOA Urdu may result in creating panic among the masses, especially in the context of recent casualties in neighbouring country India amid heavy thunder and lightning strikes.
In the larger interest of people, the facts about the said news report has been checked by the Press Network of Pakistan (PNP), a news agency registered with the Press Information Department (PID), Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Islamabad.
The WMO suggests if the time between the flash and thunder is 30 minutes, then it is a dangerous and critical situation.
The official website of UN Agency WMO reveals that it has never suggested that the duration of 30 minutes between the flash and thunder is something to be afraid of. Infact, a press release published on June 24, 2020, emphasized that “…The findings highlight important public lightning safety concerns for electrified clouds where flashes can travel extremely large distances (30-30 rule – if time between flash and thunder is less than 30 seconds, go inside! And wait 30 minutes after the last observed flash to resume outdoor activities).”
Similarly, the English website of VOA, in its report published on June 26, 2020 under the title “UN Weather Agency Recognizes 2 World Record Lightning Strikes” also mentioned that: “As a safety tip, the WMO suggests if the time between the flash and thunder is less than 30 seconds, go inside! And wait 30 minutes after the last observed flash to resume outdoor activities.”
The Urdu website of VOA has apparently misreported the facts at the time of translation from English to Urdu language. It is therefore requested to please correct the information to avoid any further misunderstanding and confusion.
About PNP Fact Check:
PNP Fact Check is an initiative by the Press Network of Pakistan (PNP), a newswire service registered with the Press Information Department, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Islamabad. It is our aim to limit and combat the spread of fake news in our society by examining the public statements, press releases, news reports and claims made by prominent media, opinion leaders and users on social media.